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Old 03-05-2007, 06:08 PM   #1
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Default China's Geely to transfer assets to listed unit

BEIJING, March 5 (Reuters) - Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. aims to transfer auto-making assets to Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. (0175.HK: Quote, Profile , Research) to shore up the competitiveness of its Hong Kong-listed unit, the parent company's chairman said on Monday.

Geely, which last year sealed a deal with Britain's Manganese Bronze Holdings Plc (MNGS.L: Quote, Profile , Research) to make London black taxi cabs in China, also hopes to sell the models in China and elsewhere as early as next year, Li Shufu told reporters on the sidelines of an annual session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory body.

Assets to be transferred include three Geely plants in Shandong, Hunan and Gansu provinces, which are currently under construction and will have a combined capacity of 150,000 units per year, Li said.

He added that the transfer, which could be conducted in phases, would only occur after the plants had started production. Two of the facilities are likely to be completed this year.

Under a deal signed in late 2006, Geely will set up a US$54.3 million car-making venture with Manganese Bronze Holdings in China to make the iconic London cabs, along with other models.

The locally made cabs would be priced at 200,000 yuan ($25,840) in China when they hit the market in 2008, Li said.

Geely, which makes some of China's lowest-priced vehicles but harbours ambitions to enter more mature markets, has set up an export arm targeting the United States and Europe.

"We want to sell to the European market first, followed by the U.S.," said Li, who founded Geely in 1986 as a maker of refrigerator parts. "We have made a lot of preparations for that."

Geely, which shipped 15,000 vehicles overseas in 2006, mostly to developing nations, announced earlier this year an ambitious target to sell one-third of its vehicles abroad by 2010, rising to two-thirds by 2015.

Exports would come to 270,000 vehicles by 2010, out of a total of 800,000 units produced. The number would rise further to 1.3 million by 2015, when its overall sales would hit 2 million units, it said. ($1=7.741 Yuan)
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